Jack Williams has long had an affinity for data and data visualizations, but when he sent out his first couple of surveys, he truly fell in love. In his role as concept development manager at Cosmos Corporation, he leverages surveys to connect the dots between concepts and help the company’s product and marketing teams make better decisions.
At Cosmos, those decisions revolve around people—more specifically, how people care for their pets. A family-owned and operated business, Cosmos was founded four decades ago with a mission of giving back to those in need while enriching the lives of pets and their people by providing high-quality products made in the United States. Today, the company is a leader in the pet health and wellness market, with products that are distributed in more than 70 countries. A portion of the company's profits help provide for Gifts of Love International, a non-profit established by Cosmos founder Don Kassebaum Sr. Gifts of Love supports a children's home and school in Brito, Guatemala, as well as a community feeding program, a primary and secondary school, and a health clinic on the island of La Gonâve, Haiti.
“Making pet- and pet parent-approved products is a core value of the Cosmos team, but we also believe in keeping people first,” Williams said. “We orient ourselves around serving others with everything we do.”
Bridging the gap between data and insights
Williams sees his role at Cosmos as that of a connector; it’s a way to, as he describes, “connect stars of data into constellations of insights.” He disseminates these insights to help the Cosmos team decide which products and innovations to pursue—all the way down to the design of the packaging.
“There are a lot of ideas and innovations coming our way,” Williams said. “My job is to take a look at these ideas and determine, as quickly as possible, whether they are going to be successful in the market.”
Cosmos has access to a lot of big data and industry-specific research but was missing an additional piece needed to evaluate new ideas effectively: insights that would inform their product decisions and direction. That’s where Momentive came in.
“We knew we could hit speed to market—our company flourishes when it comes to speed to market and marketing,” Williams said. “But what we also wanted was speed to innovation. We wanted to be able to quickly sift through data and discover these great new ideas at a faster pace, so our team could handle more new products through the pipeline.”
Momentive filled a key need for Cosmos by enabling the company to speak directly to their target consumers, both about the products already on the market as well as potential new ones. Instead of waiting to hear feedback through post-purchase reviews on sites like Amazon, for example, Williams can set up a survey on Monday and collect high-quality data before the weekend.
“The whole idea is, ‘What's the quickest way we can talk to an actual person and get feedback for something?’ The speed and quality of the responses provide a unique value proposition for us. I can feel confident about the results. And when we do come out with an innovation, we are including the voice of pet parents in our process and in our design of new products.”
Jack Williams, concept development manager, Cosmos Corporation
With an available audience of nearly 150 million people that can be targeted by demographics, geography, professional profile, and more through Momentive, Williams never has to worry about getting enough high-quality responses. He’s able to quickly and easily ask people about the company’s ideas and product concepts—and do so earlier in the product development process. He connects the findings from Momentive with larger macro trends and industry data, sales patterns, and more to inform decision-making across the organization.
Pivoting quickly based on consumer insights
Momentive allowed Cosmos to develop a new competency it knew it needed—the ability to connect with their target audiences around the world to collect insights about product needs and purchase motivations. Momentive delivers insights that help Cosmos understand what people need and want when it comes to taking care of their pets, and pivot as needed to meet those needs.
“The biggest value is that we are getting to those ‘pivot points’ more quickly as we're developing concepts, products, and innovations before launch, instead of afterward,” Williams said.
Momentive also helps Cosmos question assumptions about the pet parents it serves. “Oftentimes we are surprised by how much more there is to learn,” Williams said. “In many cases, I relish being proven wrong or having to adjust my own working hypothesis because the data have shown us something else, something unique or human we didn't see before because we were previously only seeing numbers or lag measures, like sales or Amazon reviews.”
“All trends, when it boils down to it, are human trends,” Williams added. “It has been incredible to see just how much more nuanced the answers are compared to what we were expecting.”
Being able to better understand consumers allows Cosmos to respond more quickly to trends. In an industry that has seen a shift over the last decade from pet ownership to pets as members of the family, that gives Cosmos a distinct competitive advantage.
“This growing tidal wave of the human-animal bond has permeated our culture,” he said. “I do believe that companies like ours, that focus on that important bond, have a competitive advantage that we can leverage in the market. More importantly, we can use our focus to make the lives of pets and their people better, which ultimately is our goal.”
Williams said the partnership with Momentive has also helped him further develop his own expertise in using market research to gather consumer insights. The advice he receives from his team at Momentive serves as a force multiplier for Cosmos’ investment. And that human connection makes all the difference.
“We're working together, and we have the common goal of making better surveys to get better data.” Williams said. “Momentive has quickly let us match our goal of speed to market with a new competency, speed to innovation, and connecting with actual people.”